CSG Remembers Former Delaware Gov. Minner as a Trailblazer

Former Delaware Gov. Ruth Ann Minner, who died at 86 on Nov. 4, is remembered as a trailblazer both in her home state and at The Council of State Governments.

Minner served as the first and only female governor of Delaware (2001-09), as well as the state’s first female lieutenant governor (1993-2001). Her entry into politics at the age of 30 was unconventional, according to the Delaware News Journal, and included early roles a receptionist and legislative aid before she was elected to four terms in the Delaware House of Representatives and three terms in the Senate.

In addition to serving as the first female governor of Delaware, Minner became the first woman to serve as national president of The Council of State Governments in 2005 and was deeply involved in work of CSG East/Eastern Regional Conference.

In a statement, Delaware Gov. John Carney remembered Minner as a devoted public servant whose passion was rooted in personal experience. Carney served as Minner’s lieutenant governor from 2001-09.

“She was a leader who had a real common touch,” Carney said. “Governor Minner focused on raising up the working families of our state because she knew what it meant to struggle. Having grown up poor in Slaughter Beach, she brought that perspective to her job every day, and she never lost her attachment to those roots.

“During her time in office, Governor Minner worked with legislators of both parties to improve health care and fight cancer, strengthen our education system, and attract good jobs to our state. She will be greatly missed. Tracey and I are praying for Governor Minner’s family, and her many friends across our state, during this difficult time.”

Apprenticeships provide value and skills for both workers and employers

by Mary Elizabeth Lonergan 

Nov. 15-21, 2021, marks National Apprenticeship Week, a week dedicated to celebrating the important value apprenticeships provide workers and the economy. Registered Apprenticeships offer participants relevant work experience along with providing skills and necessary credentials.  

Apprenticeships provide opportunities for all — particularly women, youth, people of color — justice-involved individuals and individuals with disabilities to contribute to America’s industries. 

“Apprenticeships are an invaluable pathway for workforce development,” said Casandra Hockenberry, senior policy analyst for The Council of State Governments. “Employers are able to recruit, develop and retain highly skilled workers. We are seeing the market for apprenticeships grow in new and exciting way. Increasing diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility can bring so many more workers into the economy while exploring emerging markets creates more jobs in both the public and private sector.” 

Hockenberry and other members of the CSG team devote much of their time to supporting apprenticeships in the U.S. 

CSG works with state leaders and policymakers to develop and implement public sector apprenticeships in their states. Through this work, CSG has created a consortium that will convene during the CSG 2021 National Conference in Santa Fe in December. This work will provide states to share ways apprenticeships have positively impacted their workforce and help other states design a blueprint to create one in their state. This meeting will be held on Dec. 4 from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.  

CSG is also hosting an apprenticeship webinar to be held on Nov. 16. Participants can register here: https://csg-org.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_d_9Tik-iTxa4N7LcT9erEw

To find more National Apprenticeship Week events in your area, visit www.apprenticeship.gov/national-apprenticeship-week.  

The Family Behind the Deployment

Christina Gordley is a mother of five, works hard at her job as a senior policy analyst for The Council of State Governments and does it all while her husband, William Gordley, is deployed with the Army National Guard, where he serves as a sergeant first class working in communications and signal support systems. In other words, she’s a superhero.

William has served in the Army for 17 years. This is the family’s third deployment, and Christina says she’s learned how to ask for help when she needs it.

“You have to try and make your needs known, and that is not always easy,” she said. “I have to rely on my friends and family, and right now I have a supportive work environment that’s helpful to provide flexibility and support when needed. You have to realize you can’t juggle it all.”

Christina said she often moves into survival mode, which is not always the same as thriving.

“The kids understand that they have a different challenge than most of their classmates,” she said said, pointing to the difference between National Guard families and those families living on a military base.

“You kind of feel like an island sometimes,” she said. “It can be overwhelming at times.”

Christina wants people to understand that a deployed spouse is not simply a spouse traveling for work. For instance, she always answers when her husband calls because if she misses the call, it might not come again for days. She said that can sometimes be an interruption at work or at social activities. “When you want to talk to somebody, they are not always there,” she said.

For Christina’s family, Veterans Day takes on a special meaning.

“For our children, they are normally in school and the school recognizes them,” she said. “They have a sense of pride in their father and the role they play in service to the country.”

Christina says it’s a chance to smile and talk about her spouse, and she’s especially thankful for her role at CSG on Veterans Day.

“What is helpful is having a supportive work environment that CSG provides,” she said.

Lee is New to CSG, but not the Mission

By Mary Elizabeth Lonergan

Dequnoas Lee is new to The Council of State Governments, but his heart already fits the mission.

Lee, an operations coordinator for CSG South, served as an active-duty sergeant in the United States Army and now serves in the Army Reserve.

He joined the military in 2008 after looking for his next challenge.

“It was life-changing,” Lee said. “At the time, I was in school, and I wanted to be in school, but (also) didn’t. My parents were like ‘You have got to figure something out.’”

Lee did not want to immediately jump into the workforce and so he weighed his options.

“The only thing I could think of at that point was the military, because they have a lot of great benefits as far as buying a house and as far as education, so I felt that was the smart choice at the time,” he said.

Lee was able to accomplish huge goals in the military.

“The thing I am most proud of is I went in as an E-1 and came out of AIT as an E-3, and basically nobody really ever does that, so that was one of the highlights of my life,” he said, referring to the Advanced Individual Training soldiers complete to learn job-specific skills.

Lee said Veterans Day is a time to recognize all those who served in the military.

“Veterans Day to me means honoring those who served their country,” he said. “Veterans Day is about those who served… and giving back to those who served.”

Today, Lee has found a home at CSG.

“I wanted to work at CSG because I wanted to work in government without being in government,” he said with a laugh. “Basically, when I came in, it was nothing but love shown to me and throughout the time I’ve been here it’s been like a family environment. At this point, it’s something that I love to get up and come to work.”

CSG’s Lansdale is

by Mary Elizabeth Lonergan

Soldier, attorney, father and program manager for The Council of State Governments Program Manager are just a few hats Taylor Lansdale can wear. Husband, captain and proud grandson are a few others.

Lansdale is the program manager for the Overseas Voting Initiative (OVI), a collaboration between CSG and the U.S. Department of Defense through its Federal Voting Assistance Program to educate state policymakers, election officials, and other election community stakeholders about unique voting challenges faced by uniformed services personnel and other U.S. citizens overseas, and methods for improving the voting process for these individuals.

Prior to working for CSG, Lansdale served as a public defender in Kentucky and as a captain in the Kentucky Army National Guard.

“When people would ask me, when I was a kid, what I wanted to do, I told them I wanted to be an army man,” Lansdale said.

Lansdale’s inspiration to serve came from his grandfather, who served in the military, and his great-grandfather, who died while serving in WWII.  “I wanted to carry on the tradition,” Lansdale said.

While a public defender, Lansdale came across an opportunity to work for CSG. The job combined his passion for positively impacting others, challenging work and his first-hand knowledge of veteran needs.

Lansadale said he was drawn to “the work that they were doing to make it easier for veteran skills to translate into skilled trades, and then the work occupational licensure does to make it easier on military spouses as they are moving from post to post. I thought that was a cool way to serve the people I was serving with.”

In his role today, Lansdale’s insight is essential to helping policymakers understand the unique needs of military voters.

Lansdale said military service members, including Army National Guard soldiers, stepped up to serve Americans on the front lines of war and during the pandemic.

“It is important for me this Veterans Day to recognize what was asked of Guardsmen and women…some of those folks worked in Louisville during the protests, turned around and ran COVID-19 hospitals, turned around and guarded D.C.,” he said, pointing to the Guard members who were deployed for most of 2020 and 2021.

He said Veterans Day is a special day to honor service members. America calls them heroes. Lansdale calls them friends.

“I do try on Veterans Day to visit my grandfather’s grave, only because he is the one I look up to so much,” he said. “It’s an opportunity to honor my friends who are still doing it. Several of the people I care most about in the world are still in it.”

Lansdale said his time in the Kentucky Army National Guard, along with becoming a husband and father, were the most rewarding experiences of his life.

“The thing I am most proud of is the soldiers that I trained and led who are now very successful officers or noncommissioned officers who are still doing really great things in the Kentucky Army National Guard,” Lansdale said.

CSG Launches Safety Awareness on Public Transit Project

The Council of State Governments (CSG) is launching a new project on public transit safety with a focus on human trafficking. Funded by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), the Safety Awareness on Public Transit project will be centered around a virtual learning seminar for transportation industry stakeholders to discuss policy solutions and best practices for raising awareness about safety issues and human trafficking on public transit.

The Safety Awareness on Public Transit project will convene policymakers and subject matter experts in transit security to propose effective solutions for fighting human trafficking in public transit. While the U. S. does not specify that transportation must occur for human trafficking to take place — it is generally defined by the presence of exploitation — victims of trafficking can be better isolated from family and support systems when victims are physically moved long distances. Traffickers use multiple methods of transportation to capture and move their victims, but public transportation is most often used due to the anonymity it offers. Of 104 survivors who participated in a Polaris study, a plurality were trafficked by either public bus, subway or long-distance bus. Many victims are initially recruited at transportation hubs. In another survey, 54% of survivors felt transportation was a barrier to being able to leave their situation. Many need assistance — possibly in the form of donated credits, points, or vouchers — in order to use public transportation to return to their homes, shelters, and/or job interviews.

While it would be potentially dangerous to have transit personnel intervene in an active human trafficking situation, policy solutions can include requiring transit agencies to establish travel vouchers or points donation, post prevention-based materials, train staff to recognize signs of human trafficking, develop trauma-informed response protocol and display the National Human Trafficking Hotline number. Existing efforts, such as those in Wisconsin, often focus on raising public awareness of resources (such as hotline information) through social media, and training Department of Motor Vehicle and Department of Transportation employees. Additionally, the Iowa Department of Transportation has a map of victim services available on its website.

CSG will invite policymakers and stakeholders in the field of transportation safety to engage in a two-day virtual learning seminar to share strategies for safety awareness in public transportation, including initiatives related to human trafficking. After the virtual convening, a report will be written, summarizing the topics discussed at the seminar. Throughout the project, a series of blogs and articles will raise awareness and share policy solutions. By increasing awareness of the use of public transportation in human trafficking and collaborating to find and implement strategic solutions, policymakers and key stakeholders can do their part to increase safety on public transit. While transportation safety is a multifaceted issue, a focal point of the solution should be the role and responsibility of those in the transportation industry.

“We are thrilled to start this new project at CSG,” said Elizabeth Whitehouse, Chief Public Policy Officer at CSG. “This is an important issue for many states, and we are honored to be a part of facilitating a collaborative environment where state leaders can work toward solutions together.”

If you are interested in participating in this project, please contact Sydney Blodgett at [email protected].

CSG to Hold Safety Awareness on Public Transit Virtual Learning Seminar

On Nov. 17 and 18 at 1 p.m. (Eastern), The Council of State Governments will host a Safety Awareness on Public Transit Virtual Learning Seminar as part of the Federal Transit Authority (FTA) Crime Prevention and Public Safety Awareness project. CSG invites policymakers, stakeholders and subject-matter experts in public transportation to a two-day virtual learning seminar to engage with one another and share strategies for safety awareness on public transportation. Click here to register.

With a focus on human trafficking prevention, participants will be able to attend several sessions with speakers from different sectors in the transportation industry, sharing their experiences and best practices for mitigating safety issues. Participants also will have the opportunity to discuss the presentations with other attendees in breakout rooms as well as during a virtual action planning session.

The seminar will feature experts who are leading efforts to prevent human trafficking and strengthen public safety in public transportation.

Dharm Guruswamy, Public Transportation Safety Specialist: Dharm Guruswamy is an experienced transportation professional whose more than 20 years of professional experience spans the private, public, quasi-public and public multilateral sectors. More recently, Dharm has been a key player in the federal government’s first exercise of direct safety oversight of a rail transit agency, where he currently serves as deputy director of FTA’s Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority (WMATA) Safety Oversight Team. He is a member of the Rail Transit Systems Committee (AP065) and a former member of the Intercity Passenger Rail Committee (AR010) of the Transportation Research Board. Dharm holds a Transit Safety and Security Program Certification for Rail (TSSP-Rail) from the Transit Safety Institute of the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Polly Hanson, Senior Director of Security, Risk & Emergency Management: Polly Hanson is responsible for developing transit security, risk and emergency management standards and policies for the American Public Transportation Association. She performs peer reviews and assists with safety audits and serves as an advocate for transportation security, as well as a source matter expert on transit security, risk and emergency management issues. Hanson earned her master’s in applied behavioral science from Johns Hopkins University and her bachelor’s in communications from Temple University. In addition, she continued her education by attending the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Executive Institute, Law Enforcement Executive Development Seminar and National Academy. Hanson is working to obtain her FTA Transit Safety and Security Program (TSSP) and Safety Measurement System (SMS) certifications.

Allison Grossman, Director of Public Policy and Strategic Advocacy: Allison Grossman is the director of public policy and strategic advocacy at Polaris. She is an experienced strategist, advocate and nonprofit leader with expertise in issue advocacy, government relations and coalition building. Prior to joining Polaris, she served as the senior advisor for global policy and advocacy at RESULTS, a grassroots anti-poverty advocacy organization, where she led campaigns on global education and early childhood development. She also has worked with Save the Children and American Jewish World Service. Grossman started her career as an Eisendrath Legislative Assistant at the Religious Action Center (RAC).Grossman holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the University of Arizona. She earned her master’s in governmental studies from Johns Hopkins University.

Chris Van Eyken, Senior Program Associate, Improving Agency Practice: Chris Van Eyken’s work focuses on encouraging transit agencies to adopt best practices and needed reforms. Van Eyken has advocated for better transit as an agency staff member and as an external advocate. He has provided technical support to agencies in the U.S. and abroad. Chris holds a bachelor’s degree in international affairs from George Washington University and a master’s degree in urban planning from Hunter College.

Kristen Joyner, Vice President, CTAA Board of Directors: Kristen Joyner is vice president of the Community Transportation Association of America (CTAA), a national membership association representing rural, small-urban, specialized and non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) providers. Joyner has represented the South West Transit Association (SWTA) on the CTAA Board since 2017. Currently, she serves as an advocate for transit issues and conducts leadership training and certification programs for transportation professionals. From 2012-16, she was a member of the White House Task Force for Transit Leaders. Recently, she led Operation Veterans in Public Transportation, a project that SWTA developed to acknowledge and support veterans in transportation.

Scott Bogren, Executive Director: Scott Bogren has been with the Community Transportation Association of America (CTAA) since 1989, serving the Association in a wide variety of roles before being named executive director in 2016. He is a passionate transit advocate and, prior to COVID-19, a daily transit user. His work always has focused on building and promoting safe, affordable, accessible and inclusive mobility for all Americans.

The Honorable Judge Jamie Cork of Minnesota: Jamie Cork was appointed to the First Judicial District Bench in August 2016, where she presides over a variety of cases. She co-chairs the Dakota County Domestic Violence Coordinated Community Response Team and the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI)-Elimination of Racial Bias Committee. She also is an active member of the First District Equal Justice Committee, Minnesota Children’s Justice Initiative (CJI), CJI Indian Child Welfare Act training faculty and subcommittee and CJI Parent Representation subcommittee. Judge Cork worked with Indian tribes and communities in an attempt to assure that families and children were able to obtain culturally appropriate education and services. Judge Cork helped establish Minnesota statewide policy, training and community outreach regarding the sexual exploitation of youth. She has brought awareness and education about human trafficking to the community through local, state, national and international presentations to judges, attorneys, law enforcement and other professionals.

Assemblymember Ash Kalra of California: Assemblymember Ash Kalra represents California’s 27th District, which encompasses approximately half of San José and includes all of downtown. He was first elected in 2016, becoming the first Indian American to serve in the California Legislature in state history, and was re-elected to his third term in 2020. Kalra is the chair of the Committee on Labor and Employment and also serves as a member on the Housing and Community Development, Judiciary, Transportation, and Water, Parks and Wildlife committees. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a law degree from Georgetown University.

Assemblymember Carol Murphy of New Jersey: Assemblymember Carol A. Murphy is currently serving her second term representing the Seventh Legislative District. First elected in 2017, Murphy is the first woman in over 20 years to represent the Seventh Legislative District, and the first Democrat from Mount Laurel to serve in the state legislature. She currently serves as the Assembly Deputy Majority Leader and is the Vice-Chair of the Assembly Judiciary Committee. She also is a member of the Assembly Budget Committee, the Assembly Financial Institution and Insurance Committee and the Assembly Oversight, Reforms and Federal Relations Committee. She also serves on the Assembly Special Committee on Infrastructure and Natural Resources.

Interested parties can reach out to Sydney Blodgett at [email protected] with any questions and register with the following link: https://csg-org.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZAqcuyuqjwrEtZ3wDdeDSNLdtzcmPl-n4-9.

Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act: Broadband Affordability and Infrastructure

By Ben Reynolds

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act1 — also referred to as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Package — passed the House on Nov. 5. President Joe Biden is expected to sign it today, Monday, Nov. 15. The bill contains $1.2 trillion in funding ($550 billion of which is new spending) for various infrastructure purposes, including roads and bridges, broadband, drinking water resources, airports, electrical vehicles and more. In this brief, analysts at The Council of State Governments break down the $65 billion in funding for broadband expansion and access.

Funding Breakdown

  • Establishing the Broadband Equity, Access, and Development Program to be administered by National Telecommunications and Information Administration to states through matching grants – $42.5 billion.
  • Investing in and making permanent the Affordable Connectivity Program (formally known as the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program administered by the Federal Communications Commission) to provide a monthly subsidy for low-income families purchasing internet service, with higher subsidies for qualifying families in high-cost areas and households participating in the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program – $14.2 billion.
  • Investing in the Digital Equity Act Competitive Grant Programs administered by the Department of Commerce – $2.75 billion.
    • State Capacity Grant Program for state efforts to achieve digital equity and inclusion.
    • Digital Equity Act Competitive Grant Programs (from Competitive Grant Program funds) focused on senior citizens, veterans, minorities and individuals with a language barrier – $250 million.
  • Investing in Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program – $2 billion.
  • Investing in Middle Mile Grants – National Telecommunications and Information Administration grant program for the construction, improvement or acquisition of infrastructure (prioritizing underserved areas and requiring buildout to be completed within five years of the grant being made) – $1 billion.

Broadband Equity, Access, and Development Program

NTIA will allocate the $42.5 billion of the Broadband Equity, Access, and Development Program three ways:

  1. Minimum of $100 million funding to each state, with an additional $100 million to be allocated equally among U.S. territories
  2. Allocates approximately $4.35 billion for broadband projects to underserved locations in high-cost areas. Eligible areas will be determined by NTIA based on a formula defined in the bill (e.g., remoteness, population density, poverty, etc.)
  3. Approximately $32.2 billion will be allocated for broadband projects in unserved locations.

The Broadband Equity, Access and Development Program is to be established no later than 180 days after the date of enactment of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. States that wish to participate in the program are to submit a letter of intent, initial proposal and final proposal. Once the NTIA allocates the grants, each state is responsible for submitting a five-year action plan that addresses the areas eligible and the proposed solutions. States can award subgrants to cooperatives, nonprofit organizations, public‐private partnerships, private companies, public or private utilities, public utility districts or local governments.

A matching contribution of at least 25% of the project costs must be provided by a state or its subgrantee. The state match generally has to be from non-federal funds, though some federal sources are explicitly permitted in the bill.

States are required to prioritize unserved service projects until the state can determine universal coverage of all unserved locations. States also must prioritize projects based on additional factors: poverty, speed of proposed services and compliance with federal labor and employment laws.

Sources and Resources

Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act: Roads and Bridges

By Dakota Thomas

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act[1] — also referred to as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Package — passed the House Nov. 5. President Joe Biden is expected to sign it today, Monday, Nov. 15. The bill contains $1.2 trillion in funding ($550 billion of which is new spending) for various infrastructure purposes, including roads and bridges, broadband, drinking water resources, airports, electrical vehicles and more. In this brief, analysts at The Council of State Governments break down the $110 billion in funding going to roads, bridges and other major ground transportation projects through the lens of state needs. Itis the largest focus of funding in the bill.

Funding Breakdown

  • Increasing the Highway Trust Fund – $273.15 billion over five years.
  • Expanding eligible uses for Surface Transportation Block Grant funding, including electric vehicle charging, projects to increase tourism and wildlife collision mitigation efforts – $72 billion.
  • Establishing the Bridge Investment Program for renewal projects on bridges that are in fair or poor condition – $40 billion over five years.
  • Creating U.S. Department of Transportation grants for eligible projects including intercity rail, highway and bridge projects, public transit and rail crossings – $15 billion.
  • Creating the Promoting Resilient Operations for Transformative, Efficient and Cost Saving Transportation (PROTECT) Program (focused on natural resilience and hazard mitigation) – $7.3 billion.
  • Creating a Carbon Reduction Program (includes investments in sidewalks, bike lanes, public transit projects and technologies to reduce carbon emissions) – $6.41 billion.
  • Creating Rural Surface Transportation Grant – $2 billion over five years.
  • Establishing Wildlife Crossings Pilot Program through the Department of Transportation to reduce collisions with wildlife and improve habitat connectivity – $350 million over five years.
  • Investing additional funding to the off-system bridge set-aside – $258 million.

These are a selection of the largest investments contained in the infrastructure package. The Congressional Budget Office estimates the bill will add $256 billion to the national deficit. While it is difficult to know the full macroeconomic effects of the bill, Moody’s Analytics provides estimates of the effects on employment and the Gross Domestic Product by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. 

For a breakdown of formula highway and bridge renewal funding allocations by state, see the chart below. Note that figures are estimates and do not include the competitive grants for which states, territories and the District of Columbia are eligible to apply.

Condition of Highways and Bridges in States

Infrastructure needs vary across the U.S. According to estimates from USA Today, the funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will likely benefit the following 10 states the most, as they have a relatively high proportion of roadways/bridges in need of repair. 

Unit% Roads in Poor Condition% Bridges in Poor Condition
Rhode Island24.6%23.1%
New Jersey16.8%8.1%
New York13.4%10.0%
West Virginia4.8%19.9%

Sources and Resources

Highway and Bridge Formula Funding (in millions USD)

District of Columbia$1,100$225
New Hampshire$1,100$225
New Jersey$6,800$1,100
New Mexico$2,500$225
New York$11,600$1,900
North Carolina$7,200$457
North Dakota$1,700$225
Rhode Island$1,500$242
South Carolina$4,600$274
South Dakota$1,900$225
West Virginia$3,000$506
American Samoa$24<-Combined
Northern Mariana Islands$24<-Combined
Puerto Rico$900$225
U.S. Virgin Islands$95<-Combined

Data Source:  White House State Fact Sheets.

Note that figures are estimates and do not include the competitive grants for which states, territories and the District of Columbia are eligible to apply.

[1] Also commonly known as the “Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework.”

CSG sends its sympathies following passing of former South Dakota first lady Jean Rounds

The Council of State Governments extends its deepest condolences to Sen. Mike Rounds on the loss of his wife, Jean.  

Jean Rounds not only served as first lady of South Dakota when her husband was governor, but also as the first lady of The Council of State Governments during the year her husband served as CSG national president.  

“We were saddened to learn of her passing earlier this week,” said CSG Executive Director/CEO David Adkins. “Jean served her state well — first during her tenure as a state employee, then as a civic and philanthropic leader and as a great ambassador for South Dakota. She embodied the best values of the American Midwest.  

“CSG extends our condolences to Sen. Rounds and to all who knew and loved Jean.” 

Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who followed Sen. Rounds as CSG national president, tweeted earlier this week, “Gayle and I are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Jean Rounds. When Mike and I served as Governors together, the 4 of us became great friends. Jean was such a delight to be around and we will miss her friendship.” 

Jean Rounds, 65, passed away Tuesday, Nov. 2, following her battle with sarcoma cancer. A native of Lake Preston, South Dakota, she married Mike Rounds in 1978, and the couple have four children. She worked in the South Dakota State Planning Bureau and the Department of Transportation. 

Her husband released a statement following her death, which included, “South Dakota knew her as First Lady. We knew her as wife, daughter, mom and grandma. She was everything to us.”